As congress debates the next stimulus package, using the lives of women and families as pawns in a game of political chess, it is up to philanthropy to step in and fill the void. With gender and racial justice as guiding principles, you are our greatest hope to lead the philanthropic sector at this critical time.
Five to 10 dollars a week. That’s all that unemployed families in some states will have to live on after Congress allowed the additional $600 unemployment benefit to expire on July 31. Despite record job gains in June, women are still being left behind, with unemployment persisting, especially for women of color.
Even when employed, women of color struggle with the dual oppressions of race and gender pay bias. Black Women’s Equal Pay Day, August 13, marks how far into the next year Black women must work to be paid what white men were paid last year — observed almost five months after Women’s Equal Pay Day (March 31), which looks at women overall. It reminds us just how insidiously racism and misogyny undermine any semblance of economic equality, equity and opportunity for women of color — before, during and after the pandemic.
According to a survey of 80 fair housing groups by the National Fair Housing Alliance, since the pandemic began, there has been a 13% uptick in sexual harassment complaints against landlords trying to exploit women having in exchange for rent.
Just as the CARES Act unemployment checks ended, Congress also let the federal moratorium on evictions expire, with communities of color disproportionately at risk of losing their homes. Some women bear an additional burden: According to a survey of 80 fair housing groups by the National Fair Housing Alliance, since the pandemic began, there has been a 13% uptick in sexual harassment complaints against landlords trying to exploit women having in exchange for rent. It is a situation that’s untenable and unconscionable, especially considering it is nearly impossible to remain socially distanced — let alone heed warnings to stay home — if you have no home.
Your institutions’ funding to frontline organizations and advocacy efforts are making a difference. More importantly, women’s philanthropy not only steps into the gap, together we are dismantling systemic sexism and racism to prevent disparities in the future. We’re not only addressing this pandemic and its associated economic crisis, we’re working to ensure that women and girls — especially women and girls of color — don’t shoulder the burden of the next crisis.
I could not be more proud to be here in this fight with you as we rise to this challenge together.
Yours for equity and justice,
Women’s Funding Network
President & CEO